10 books like Masters of Starlight

By David Fahey, Linda Rich,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Masters of Starlight. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Out With the Stars

By Jim Heimann,

Book cover of Out With the Stars: Hollywood Nightlife in the Golden Era

It doesn't matter that it was patently phony: The glamour that was Tinseltown in Hollywood's golden age was impossibly romantic and utterly irresistible. Much of it had to do with the social lives of movie stars, and in particular the shenanigans they got up to in swanky nightclubs where they danced, courted, and made merry. Jim Heimann is a superb chronicler of Los Angeles's architectural and cultural past, and this beautifully illustrated book is crammed with images of the likes of Clark Gable, Marlene Dietrich, Charlie Chaplin, Lucille Ball, Humphrey Bogart, and Lauren Bacall patronizing such swell spots as Mocambo, the Trocadero, Ciro's, the Coconut Grove, the Player's Club, and many others. They're all gone now, but this collection of hundreds of photos of the clubs, inside and out, and the patrons, dressed as if for a royal wedding, brings them back to vibrant life.

Out With the Stars

By Jim Heimann,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Out With the Stars as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Describes the Hollywood bars, restaurants, and nightclubs frequented by celebrities and movie stars from the 1920s to the 1940s.


The Way We Lived Then

By Dominick Dunne,

Book cover of The Way We Lived Then: Recollections of a Well-Known Name Dropper

Before he became a writer of potboiler novels and true-crime journalism, Dominick Dunne was a film and television producer and a social butterfly who also happened also to be an avid amateur photographer. This memoir of his Hollywood days, which resulted in a crash-and-burn from which he emerged as a writer, is filled with intimate, candid images of such friends (not all faithful) as Jane Fonda, Elizabeth Taylor, Natalie Wood, Paul Newman, and Frank Sinatra, as well, of course, as Dunne and his family. There are dreamy and even eye-popping tales throughout, and if you're at all familiar with Dunne's books or magazine writing, you'll marvel at how so much of it so neatly dovetails with the life he actually lived and, thankfully, captured on film and in these frank and candid pages.

The Way We Lived Then

By Dominick Dunne,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Way We Lived Then as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Mesmerizing, revelatory text combines with more than two hundred photographs -- most of them taken by the author -- in a startling illustrated memoir that will both astonish and move you.

When Dominick Dunne lived and worked in Hollywood, he had it all: a beautiful family, a glamorous career, and the friendship of the talented and powerful. He also had a camera and loved to take pictures. These photographs, which Dunne carefully preserved in more than a dozen leatherbound scrapbooks -- along with invitations, telegrams, personal notes, and other memorabilia -- record the parties, the glittering receptions, the society weddings,…


Easy Riders Raging Bulls

By Peter Biskind,

Book cover of Easy Riders Raging Bulls: How the Sex-Drugs-And Rock 'n Roll Generation Saved Hollywood

Just before and during the same period that SNL was raging on the East Coast, rising directors like Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, and George Lucas were rewriting the rules of Hollywood. Biskind’s history of the New Hollywood of the Seventies, which starts with 1969’s biker classic Easy Rider, is jammed with juicy stories of sex, drugs, and film canisters. But it also makes you appreciate anew the way movies like  Chinatown, Nashville, Taxi Driver, and Star Wars made going to the local movie theater a newly thrilling and surprising experience. 

Easy Riders Raging Bulls

By Peter Biskind,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Easy Riders Raging Bulls as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When the low-budget biker movie Easy Rider shocked Hollywood with its success in 1969, a new Hollywood era was born. This was an age when talented young filmmakers such as Scorsese, Coppola, and Spielberg, along with a new breed of actors, including De Niro, Pacino, and Nicholson, became the powerful figures who would make such modern classics as The Godfather, Chinatown, Taxi Driver, and Jaws. Easy Riders, Raging Bulls follows the wild ride that was Hollywood in the '70s -- an unabashed celebration of sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll (both onscreen and off) and a climate where innovation and…


Hollywood Babylon

By Kenneth Anger,

Book cover of Hollywood Babylon: The Legendary Underground Classic of Hollywood's Darkest and Best Kept Secrets

It must be said out loud and straightaway that much of this classic, influential book is, as the kids say, bullshit. But it is iconic bullshit, hair-raising bullshit, bullshit that you simply cannot ignore or pretend away. Anger, an avant-garde filmmaker whose work teems with sexual and occult content, published this book in 1965 when many of the stars of classic Hollywood whose hidden proclivities he discusses were still either alive or part of a revered pantheon: Marilyn Monroe, Errol Flynn, Lana Turner, Judy Garland, Charlie Chaplin, and so on. And his claims about their sex lives, criminal activities, and their, shall we say, 'flexible' morals were groundbreaking. It doesn't matter that much of it isn't true: the urban legends it inspired still walk the earth. And the lurid photographs of death scenes and stars at their most vulnerable, though often nightmarish, have also become iconic. As a journalist, I…

Hollywood Babylon

By Kenneth Anger,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Hollywood Babylon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“Kenneth Anger has fashioned a delicious . . . box of poisoned bonbons. Picking through the slag heap of the Hollywood dream factory, [he] has put together a truly prodigious anthology of star-studded scandal.”—The New York Times

Kenneth Anger is a former child movie actor who grew up to become one of America’s leading underground filmmakers. Hollywood Babylon was originally published in Paris, and quickly became an underground legend. Not a word has been changed. Not a story omitted. Here is the hot, luscious plum of sizzling scandal that continues to shock the world.


Jane Fonda

By Patricia Bosworth,

Book cover of Jane Fonda: The Private Life of a Public Woman

Unique among those in Hollywood who dove head first into the American counterculture, Jane Fonda proved too committed to dismiss as a dilettante, too persistent to just fade away, too formidable for the FBI to destroy. Bosworth, a veteran Hollywood biographer (she has written books on Montgomery Clift and Marlon Brando as well) uniquely understands political celebrity; she’s never dismissive, but she’s not so easy on her subject either. Because she knows better: Bosworth’s father was the Hollywood 10 attorney Bart Crum. Bosworth surely understands the risks involved in Left-wing celebrity.

Jane Fonda

By Patricia Bosworth,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Jane Fonda as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

As actress, activist, businesswoman, wife, and mother, Jane Fonda has pushed herself to the limit, attempting to please all, excel in every arena, be everything. We've read her version of her controversial life, yet nothing can prepare us for this genuinely revelatory account of Jane's engrossing, sometimes shocking journey. Supplemented by the psychiatric records of her suicidal, bipolar mother, Fonda's FBI file, and interviews with her intimates, this perceptive portrait strips away hype and the subject's own mythmaking. Patricia Bosworth shows us what a toll Jane's quest to excel (and please her demanding father, Henry) exacted and sheds light on…


Making Movies

By Sidney Lumet,

Book cover of Making Movies

Sidney Lumet directed Twelve Angry Men and The Verdict, among many others, and the beauty of this short book is just how practical he is about his craft. In the magazine interviews and hagiographies about directors, we seldom get a true sense of the working day on a movie set, or what happens long before shooting begins and months after it finishes. But here Lumet reveals why he always tried to schedule a very simple shot for the first set-up on day 1 of production, the value of a rehearsal period (if he was granted one) and that he took a lunchtime nap. From first being offered a script to the final sound mix, this is what a movie director really does.

Making Movies

By Sidney Lumet,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Making Movies as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“Invaluable.... I am sometimes asked if there is one book a filmgoer could read to learn more about how movies are made and what to look for while watching them. This is the book.” —Roger Ebert, The New York Times Book Review

Why does a director choose a particular script? What must they do in order to keep actors fresh and truthful through take after take of a single scene? How do you stage a shootout—involving more than one hundred extras and three colliding taxis—in the heart of New York’s diamond district? What does it take to keep the studio…


Dave Barry Turns 50

By Dave Barry,

Book cover of Dave Barry Turns 50

We’ve outgrown vaulting over five-barred gates, running up mountains, drinking all night, and springing bright-eyed from our beds, and so what? For anyone in denial, or clinging stubbornly to youth, Dave is the Baby Boomer to point out the stark realities. He’s funny but he’s ruthless. Fifty’s not the new thirty. It’s fifty. The reason I recommend it is that it can be hard to let go and you’ll waste precious autumn if you don’t accept the inevitable, and move on with a spring in your step into what I have found to be the best period of all. Laughing helps. Laughing always helps.  

Dave Barry Turns 50

By Dave Barry,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dave Barry Turns 50 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist comes a celebration of the aging process. Not just Dave's, but that of the whole Baby Boom Generation--those millions of us who set a standard for whining self-absorption that will never be equaled, and who gave birth to such stunning accomplishments as Saturday Night Live!, the New Age movement, and call waiting. Here Dave pinpoints the glaring signs that you've passed the half-century mark:

- You are suddenly unable to read anything written in letters smaller than Marlon Brando.
- You have accepted the fact that you can't possibly be hip. You don't even know…


Blonde

By Joyce Carol Oates,

Book cover of Blonde

Blonde is a fictional biography of Marilyn Monroe. I tend not to read thick books – and this is over 600 pages – and I only had a passing interest in Monroe before beginning it, but the book was highly recommended so I gave it a go. I’m glad that I did. 

This is a colossus of a book – in size, in scope, in adaptation, in emotion. The mood is tragedy – tragedy on so many levels it hurts to think about them. Oates pitches the 'Monroe' character perfectly. And for me, the book's strength comes from the fact that I'm content with this as a piece of fiction. I don't need to know the 'truth' (however, so much truth can ever be known).

It's also a book that makes me angry. A book that pitches hope against fate, all men against one woman, fame against success. We want…

Blonde

By Joyce Carol Oates,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Blonde as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The National Book Award finalist and national bestseller exploring the life and legend of Marilyn Monroe

Now a Netflix Film starring Ana de Armas, Adrien Brody, Bobby Cannavale and Julianne Nicholson

In one of her most ambitious works, Joyce Carol Oates boldly reimagines the inner, poetic, and spiritual life of Norma Jeane Baker—the child, the woman, the fated celebrity, and idolized blonde the world came to know as Marilyn Monroe. In a voice startlingly intimate and rich, Norma Jeane tells her own story of an emblematic American artist—intensely conflicted and driven—who had lost her way. A powerful portrait of Hollywood’s…


The Time of Our Time

By Norman Mailer,

Book cover of The Time of Our Time

Published on the 50th anniversary of the publication of The Naked and the Dead, the book is an overview of Mailer’s entire writing career up to 1998, by way of introductions to and excepts from his decades of fiction and nonfiction. I make this recommendation as a risk because the book is a nearly 1300-page-long anthology. No one is going to sit down and read cover to cover, however, so I offer it as a way of seeing the sweep of a major author’s career; here you can dip in and out as you wish to see what’s up with a given work or topic at any point in Mailer’s publishing life, up to 1998. You can decide then what you want to read in the offered excerpt or in full, either from an included short work of magazine journalism or a short story, or from a whole…

The Time of Our Time

By Norman Mailer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Time of Our Time as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE TIME OF OUR TIME is a selection of Mailer's best work, chosen by Mailer himself, and ingeniously arranged as a literary retrospective. It is a masterly, boisterous portrait of our times, seen through the fiction and reportage of a great writer. Included are passages from THE NAKED AND THE DEAD, THE ARMIES OF THE NIGHT and THE EXECUTIONER'S SONG, as well as many of his other works and his best-known magazine pieces from Marilyn Monroe to Madonna. This giant omnibus is a testament to Mailer's enormous energies, his vast curiosity, and his amazing talent and amounts almost to a…


The Atrocity Exhibition

By J.G. Ballard,

Book cover of The Atrocity Exhibition

The Atrocity Exhibition is an experimental novel that reads more like a collection of loosely-linked short stories split into a series of vignettes. Written in 1969 it alludes to many celebrities of the period, focusing in particular on those who met violent or tragic ends. So the (not literal) ghosts of J. F. Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe, Jayne Mansfield, and Albert Camus are represented as springboards for themes that are mostly sexual, fetishistic, centred around art and celebrity and the personification of desire and status represented by the automobile. It’s not an easy read – and for some, it might be considered obscene – however, the cumulative effect is to shine an unrelenting arc light on the nature of celebrity and how it bleeds into the everyday lives of consumers, who feel they know their stars inside out but who probably don’t know them at all.

The Atrocity Exhibition

By J.G. Ballard,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Atrocity Exhibition as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A prophetic and experimental masterpiece by J. G. Ballard, the acclaimed author of 'Crash' and 'Super-Cannes'. This edition includes explanatory notes from the author.

The irrational, all-pervading violence of the modern world is the subject of this extraordinary tour de force.

The central character's dreams are haunted by images of John F. Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe, dead astronauts and car-crash victims as he traverses the screaming wastes of nervous breakdown. Seeking his sanity, he casts himself in a number of roles: H-bomber pilot, presidential assassin, crash victim, psychopath. Finally, through the black, perverse magic of violence he transcends his psychic…


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